Williams-Ashman HG. Androgenic Control of Nucleic Acid and Protein Synthesis in Male Accessory Genital Organs. Jour of Cellular and Comp Physiology. 1965. 66;2:111-24.
Howard Guy Williams-Ashman, PhD, was an internationally recognized authority on sex hormones and the biochemistry, biosynthesis, regulation and mode of action in both normal reproduction and malignant conditions. Dr. Williams-Ashman trained under Charles Huggins at the University of Chicago. For five years (1964-1969), he served as the Director of the Brady Laboratory for Reproductive Physiology at Johns Hopkins before returning to the University of Chicago. In this manuscript from 1965, Williams-Ashman discusses the reactions between RNA (ribonucleic acid) and protein synthesis in the prostate and seminal vesicle (SV).
Dr. Williams-Ashman starts by highlighting a number of important clinical observations: natural estrogens exert effects at much lower doses than androgens, physiologic actions of estrogens are quicker than those to androgens, sex genotype has little influence of reactivity to androgens and estrogens, and determining target tissues for androgens and estrogens can be challenging. He then reviews the scientific discoveries leading to the current understanding of androgens and development of the prostate and SV. He finishes by summarizing these data, stating:
"…androgenic hormones initiate and maintain the functional differentiation of the prostate gland and seminal vesicles… [through] primary changes in the ribosomal population density and in the levels of template RNA's."
The changes in RNA polymerase activity may be among the first detectable metabolic changes following castration. In addition, although they were not yet discovered, he hypothesized that the androgen receptor would be "proteinaceous" and the resulting discussion between Drs. Williams-Ashman and several leading researchers in the field provides wonderful, historical insight into the understanding of sex hormones, sex hormone receptors and the interplay in extragenital tissues.
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